HOPE FOR EASTERN KENTUCKY
Story by Chase Brashears
Whitesburg, KY, is a small town in Southeast Kentucky. It’s where I grew up. In late July 2022, my wife, Carly, and I were there visiting family when devastating flooding came out of nowhere and destroyed much of the area. God put us there at the right time because once we realized how bad it really was, we made contact with Randy Johnson. Randy put us in touch with Chris Chiles, the God’s Pit Crew’s immediate response coordinator, and within 12 hours of the initial contact, a bright red semi navigated the twist and turns of the mountain roads and pulled into the parking lot of Letcher County Central High School – the high school I attended – at 2:00 a.m. With no forklift in sight, Mike, the semi driver, some of my family, and some other locals wrangled up through a Facebook post spent the next three hours unloading the 53-foot trailer.
God’s Pit Crew was the first load of supplies into Whitesburg, and it meant so much more to the community than I could even begin to describe. Families who had lost nearly everything showed up just after sunrise that morning to grab Blessing Buckets and other desperately needed materials. Within just a few short hours, the supplies were depleted. The community could not get over that bright red tractor-trailer that came like a hero in the night into Eastern Kentucky. It was the first of many into the area.
Days later, a small group of God’s Pit Crew volunteers came to personally hand out Blessing Buckets into some of the hardest hit areas. And then, a few days after that, fresh off flooding in nearby Grundy, VA, the immediate response team came to town with tons of manpower and machinery to help the people of my hometown – many of whom had no idea where to turn or what to do. For days, I watched and worked beside individuals from all walks of life who came to the area that I grew up in to help – and pray for – my people. From churches to houses, the people of Whitesburg, KY, watched as a group of Godly people in red shirts happily helped them through some of the worst days of their lives.
Reliving the experience brings chills and tears as I think back about this special group of God’s Pit Crew volunteers who stopped their own lives in their tracks to come to Appalachia and help hundreds of complete strangers. God’s Pit Crew did a lot during the flooding disaster but most importantly, they delivered hope, healing, and restoration to the area. And they still are. I will never be able to thank the team of staff and volunteers at God’s Pit Crew enough for what they did. They were a true Godsend.
Testimony from Carly Brashears
The impact God’s Pit Crew makes is inexplicable other than to say it is simply outstanding. We were beyond blessed to have an organization, or better yet FRIENDS, to reach out to when we found ourselves in the midst of a natural disaster.
It was amazing to watch the God’s Pit Crew hauler arrive in the wee-hours of the morning, delivering much needed supplies, but more than anything delivering hope. By this time, we had begun to see folks emerging from the devastation in tears and wondering how to go on and where to turn to for the next direction.
Well, God’s Pit Crew was the first building block in what would be an extensive recovery process – and to see the impact that made on people was so inspiring! These people could not believe that an organization from nearly five hours away loved them enough to lend such helping hands.
This feeling of being loved continued on for the people of Eastern Kentucky for countless days, and still to this day they are seeing the impact God’s Pit Crew had on helping them find their way back to high ground.
So many stories and moments impacted me during those trying times, but the one that continues to stay planted in the forefront of my mind is… While we helped muck out various residences, I just kept thinking “Wow, where do you start when trying to put this place back together.” That house wasn’t even mine, so I could only imagine that the owner had the exact same thought – only magnified – rolling through her mind.
However, she simply proclaimed, “God sent me these people to help, and now look how wonderful everything is!” This was said while all of her belongings were stacked on the porch, her house no longer had floors, and the walls had been extracted nearly five feet tall. That’s God giving such peace in such a trying time. And that’s God working through the many faces of God’s Pit Crew. Kudos to the entire team.